Bug 139397 - Rework auto-correction mechanisms for better UX
Summary: Rework auto-correction mechanisms for better UX
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Writer (show other bugs)
(earliest affected)
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
Keywords: needsUXEval
Depends on:
Reported: 2021-01-04 09:54 UTC by Telesto
Modified: 2021-01-13 10:10 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:
Crash report or crash signature:


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Description Telesto 2021-01-04 09:54:22 UTC
Follow up on bug 139377
The original situation was an auto-replacement for dßs by daß. Probably someone decided there was a need for this (assumed this being needed, instead of superfluous as Dirk W. states)

The replacement table has been adjusted to a new standard. While the old “daß” not finally gone out of fashion. So now the replacement will be off left/or right.

Removal from the list would end the debate, but functionally will be lost. Apparently assumed to be needed (by the maintainer of the replacement list). 

The assumption being that 'Auto-Correct' should replace this automatically - without explicit consent to enable this feature - being the right thing to do.

I personally not a big fan of auto-correct replacement tables. Or any for of unexpected change. I'm prefer to be in control. And being aware what's happening.
So an personally want prefer to opt-in approach. Enabling. And explicitly choose to use this. As a feature. 

An additional reason: the replacement list kind of subjective. It's entails the discussion why something is added to the list, or not, or how it's replaced. There are likely more 'dubious' items in the German replacement list (or maybe in those of other languages).

LibreOffice now indirectly favoring linguistic changes (and forcing them upon the user using auto-correct). LibreOffice would have clean hands if the user enabled picked the replacement list themselves and  or/ enabled the feature.

LibreOffice is implicitly getting their hands dirty related to linguistic questions. Also topics like these land in the LibreOffice bugtracker.  
It's topic for the maintainer of the dictionary/ replacement list, IMHO.

Which can be seen as another reason to turn the feature off by default.

.. this same things hold true for auto-complete and markdown. I'm still kind of proposing a gui tools aggregating different which can be set all over the place. For quick configuration. Like the assumption that I want a Dutch language and Dutch dictionary based on having Dutch system kind of speculative.. Going through options/ linguistic settings but cumbersome. But what's should be in it of course different topic :-). Or which toolbar to use.

My initial thought is disabling the replacement list by default; the other more 'extension' to compensate. The topic about the default is more about which group has to change the settings. And configuring being bit of hassle; but that's my take.

Accommodating different user groups simply 'hard'

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Open Writer
2. Type daß + space.. replaced by dass

Actual Results:

Expected Results:
daß except if auto-correct turned on

Reproducible: Always

User Profile Reset: No

Additional Info:
Version: (x64)
Build ID: 4e3ce9dd6ace0b22f7b3f45cf2338b201f4dc305
CPU threads: 4; OS: Windows 6.3 Build 9600; UI render: Skia/Raster; VCL: win
Locale: nl-NL (nl_NL); UI: en-US
Calc: CL
Comment 1 László Németh 2021-01-04 11:05:22 UTC
Outdated or annoying replacements must be removed from the replacement list, this could avoid of the unwanted disabling of a nice competitive feature.

Moreover, some languages, as Greek, use autocorrect for the basic text input, see Bug 116387 (Autocorrect greek character σ (sigma) to ς (final sigma) when at the end of a word (τελικό σίγμα)). Enabling default autocorrect of the ASCII apostrophe to the typographic apostrophe resulted a lot of regressions (I hope, the last one was Bug 117643 – broken search with ASCII apostrophe), but it's still worth to do it, because this is a basic competitive feature, i.e. a decent word processor must not disguise itself as a typewriter at the first start, hoping the best from the average users, where typography is usually not part of the basic knowledge (while typographic apostrophes are de facto standards, e.g. in desktop or web publishing).

I think, update of linguistic lists and dictionaries is a slow, but sure process. To speed up it, it's better to report the problem separately, e.g. this obsolete dßs to daß correction. Some improvement needs more time, for example, I just recognized, that the new Hungarian orthography reform needs a small, but important change in the pattern based hyphenation list, too, so from the first fix (Bug 95024 in 2015) we needed 5 years to handle the problem ~completely (https://gerrit.libreoffice.org/c/dictionaries/+/107857 [for Hungarians: now all -sszerű is hyphenated as s-szerű, not sz-szerű, according to the new orthography, e.g. "ésszerű" is written as "észszerű", while "üstökösszerű" is still written as "üstökösszerű", and hyphenated as üstökös-szerű, and not "üstökösz-szerű").
Comment 2 Telesto 2021-01-04 11:38:59 UTC
(In reply to László Németh from comment #1)

The daß/dass change ended up in kind of linguistic debate. See bug 139377

I happy to admit that not really dislike the auto-correct as such. Except the list sometimes contains things you simply don't want. Which being kind of similar of whatsapp auto-complete ruining a message (I assume this happens to others too)

It's simply the case that auto-correct having the tendency to now better. And me feeling lack of control. 
The core problem is not on/off as such. But more surprises which might happen. And kind of hard figuring out where it's coming from. 

Different approaches possible.
* Limit the content of the default auto-correct list (additional more 'aggressive' lists for opt-in). 
* Better feedback when auto-correct is kicking in (and how to adjust)? Info bar?
* Similar approach to auto-complete.. which shows info-popup.. and needs enter to apply?
* Working options to delete/insert new items in the replacement list (there number of bugs with it). Not instantly updating.. or not updating at all

LibreOffice should't get their hands dirty related to spell reforms. If it should be used or not. 
Or being responsible for keeping old spelling around, because dictionary's a lacking behind (caused by lack of man-power).
Those 'credit' should go to the maintainers of such lists ;-). But activating those by default, LibreOffice is implicitly guaranteeing those being proper. Or taking sides at spelling reforms in a certain way. If you ask me.

Not having a 'preferred' route. The turning of is actually more my starting point for some 'debate'

Sometimes I think about starting with configuration assistant to let people decide. Or maybe few 'templates' settings. No support, normal, all features enabled. Normal being turned on. Which would include auto-replacement

FWIW: only brainstorming.. as I tend to see a problem here; not sure if people are with on it or not. Pointless to search for 'solution' as it not perceived as an issue at all :P

I'm fully aware that every approach will be a compromise. Even the current current situation is a compromise :-). It's only established already

Easiest way for my starting example is of course throwing out 'daß/dass". Also an approach. But well this likely not fixing all other dictionary's or all other dubious things. 

But leave it at those, who have more feeling for this matter.
I personally haven't had much trouble with auto-correct (except for markdown).. but well the Dutch replacement list is pretty clean.
Comment 3 V Stuart Foote 2021-01-04 13:53:59 UTC
The auto-correct replacement is fully functional and localized.

As localized it does need editing. But there is no reason to consider disabling it by default.

Comment 4 V Stuart Foote 2021-01-04 14:20:52 UTC
Also, will point out the the entire in line :emoji: entry mechanisim is dependent on functioning auto-correct list.
Comment 5 V Stuart Foote 2021-01-04 15:46:42 UTC
Disabling auto-correction replacement is a non-starter, and changing as suggested through additional dev effort would be a questionable enhancement.

Presently, the entire list is subject to user customization--a user can delete any LO provided default entries they find inappropriate, and may add any mnemonic for string replacements they find useful.

It is rather functional, and frankly needs no attention.

The LO provided default localization(s) is an i18n editing issue, the framework is sound. 

IMHO as an enhancement => WF
Comment 6 Telesto 2021-01-04 19:10:58 UTC
(In reply to V Stuart Foote from comment #5)
> Presently, the entire list is subject to user customization--a user can
> delete any LO provided default entries they find inappropriate, and may add
> any mnemonic for string replacements they find useful.

First off noting that editing the replacement list currently broken (in various ways, depending on language): bug 96787, bug 119177, bug 139396 
But well those are bugs will be fixed someday. So not a reference

Remains what bug 139377 expressed related to daß and dass. Any replacement lis taking sides.. and is installed by default. Which for my taste is a kind of 'problematic'. In the sense of LibreOffice is answering linguistic questions. By saying 'dass' being proper (in line with reform of 1996). Which isn't forced upon the user. 
Wikipedia writes that there plenty of standards for different papers (but no clue if this still being valid; kind of dated wiki page)

So the whole replacement thing bit hairy to me.  

No clear if there are clear rules for dictionary maintainers. If something should be added to replacement list/when not etc. The list appears to be kind of subjective. And it's enabled by default. 

Not much against smiley's. Which I even consider being separated from 'normal' replacements (but possibly my preference + and obviously development effort). So not sure how realistic this is.

And of course the opposite. The usefulness in general. So people expecting this to happen.

I personally dislike auto-replacements (without any feedback). Auto-correct correcting wrongly is pretty infuriating. And if you don't realize its caused by auto-correct.. And auto-correct is kind of buried. So I personally don't associate auto-correct with replacement list. I might even read Auto-correct as being about the spell-checker.

So yes, I admit the possibility of editing partly solves the issue. But you need to be aware.. I no, I didn't know at first, nor did the reporter in bug 139377.

It also shows how infuriating this can be. Exactly the same topic at play with 'markdown' [sorry keep bring this up]. Trying to type a directory path is kind of a thing. Or wanting to accentuate something with *HELLO* (without being bold)
Which again a hidden feature (or annoyance, depending on perspective).

And the speculating about how large group are seeing this as (feature) or (annoyance) is not obvious. And kind of dislike the way it forced up on someone.

The topic of 'needing' development effort. Certainly not unique. So closing because it needs development effort as isn't real argument for some 'change'. If we can come up with something.

Development effort means to me.. well priority.. so lots of effort with present long list of other more pressing issue.. ends up with LOW ENHANCEMENT. Still OK with that :P

I personally perceive it as recognition that sometime could be improved. Even if this factual means no change in the upcoming 5, maybe 10 years :-). But it's taken seriously but not seen as most pressing matter. 

It might be bit more sentimental compared to certain pragmatism. The pragmatic will reason: this won't be fixed anytime soon. Not extremely pressing, and we enough to do already. So let it vanish of the radar (and not 'bloating' the bug tracker any further) 

While I would argue; it has a tremendous size already; are we picky on small selection of bugs.. :-). And really wrong to say, well this could be improved with some kind of direction. 

If there is no realistic options doing it differently, closing is obviously the decision to make.

[Sorry for the long read]. I think I ruined this report already, making it to long.
Comment 7 Heiko Tietze 2021-01-13 10:10:19 UTC
(In reply to Telesto from comment #6)
> Remains what bug 139377 expressed related to daß and dass. 
Not every request makes sense and is often rather a personal preference or individual workflow. In this particular question, the Duden clearly states "dass" instead of "daß". See https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/dass. The orthography reform was in 1996 and 25 years later we should really comply. Dirk's statement "traditional German spelling is still valid" is just wrong.

(In reply to V Stuart Foote from comment #5)
> It is rather functional, and frankly needs no attention.

Agree. What I could imagine is to have the list available for extensions. That would allow people with special demands to switch away from the standard.

(In reply to Telesto from comment #0)
> The original situation was an auto-replacement for dßs by daß.
This was always present as a typical typo. The actual question is the grammar correction of "daß" into "dass" (and "dßa" to "dass").